There are so many dynamics at play across the Week 7 college football schedule.
Bounce-back spots, letdown trap games and teams that are playing for their coaches jobs.
On paper, Week 7 does not look as appetizing as Week 6 did, but we all know these types of weeks are a cauldron for chaos.
Chaos has been the theme of the 2021 season and we broke that down on Wednesday’s edition of The Line Change. The full podcast will be available soon.
Last week while I was in Tennessee, I put together my best weekend of the season. If I fail this weekend, I’m just going to buy a ticket back to Knoxville to stir up the gambling luck again.
While I was gone, Jon Jansen went 2-1 on his picks, which is a step in the right direction after his brutal start. We'll add his picks later on Friday night.
Here’s to many more winners in the second week of October.
Week 7 Picks
Joe Tansey (38-27 overall; 9-4 last week)
Clemson at Syracuse (Over 45) (Friday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
I’m banking on a lot of emotional factors for the Week 7 slate.
Clemson couldn’t have played any worse in the first five weeks.
The Tigers averaged 21.2 points per game and dropped out of the Top 25 with losses to Georgia and NC State.
Clemson had a bye to reset itself last week and I think we see a reinvigorated Tigers offense in upstate New York on Friday night.
No one is paying attention to the Tigers right now and a national TV window on a Friday night is the perfect time to remind everyone they have 5-star players littered across the offense.
Syracuse gave up 73 points to Florida State and Wake Forest in the last two weeks. The Orange defense is not good and it is susceptible to allowing another big game from an opponent.
Florida at LSU (+12) (Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN)
LSU is dead in the water and waiting for the Gators to chew it to pieces.
That’s what everyone thinks will happen since the Tigers are decimated by injuries to their top players and the door is wide open for Ed Orgeron to leave after the season.
If LSU has any fight left in it, it will get up for the home clash against Florida.
LSU got off the mat in the second half against Kentucky to show some life and score 21 points in last week’s loss.
Florida did not look overly impressive in its loss to Kentucky and it is in one of the worst look-ahead spots of Week 7. The Gators have Georgia on the horizon in two weeks after a bye.
Nebraska (-4.5) at Minnesota (Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN2)
Nebraska and Minnesota are on two different program trajectories.
The Huskers were competitive with Oklahoma, Michigan and Michigan State and beat the ever-living snot out of Northwestern.
Scott Frost’s team has a chance to beat one of the teams it should defeat on Saturday in Minnesota.
PJ Fleck’s boat has been rowing toward the Regression River in the last two seasons. The Gophers don’t have any impressive wins and they average a full touchdown fewer than Nebraska in points per game.
Look for Adrian Martinez to go bonkers like he did in the win over Northwestern.
Rutgers (-2) at Northwestern (Saturday, Noon ET, BTN)
Rutgers just ran through the Michigan-Ohio State-Michigan State gauntlet.
The Scarlet Knights finally face lesser competition on Saturday and they should get right against Northwestern.
As we mentioned above, the Wildcats were torched by Nebraska for 56 points two weeks ago. Northwestern allows 448.6 yards per game.
That is a recipe for the Rutgers offense to let loose and begin a winning run against the easier part of its schedule.
Kentucky at Georgia (Over 44.5) (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Kentucky will score at least a touchdown or two on Georgia, which is a lot better than Arkansas.
Georgia’s offense has looked better by the week. It put up 71 points in consecutive wins over Auburn and Arkansas, both ranked teams.
The Bulldogs should win the game outright, but the run-heavy Kentucky offense that averages 411.8 yards per game should pose a much tougher test than Auburn or Arkansas.
Western Kentucky (-12) at Old Dominion (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
It’s a bit surprising to look up at the standings to see Western Kentucky at 1-4.
The Hilltoppers were one of the popular preseason picks to finish near the top of the Group of Five rankings.
Western Kentucky drew some tough matchups against Army, Indiana, Michigan State and UTSA. It was competitive in three of those four games.
Saturday’s trip to Old Dominion should be a chance for WKU’s pass-heavy offense, led by Bailey Zappe, to get right and focus on an easier second half of the schedule.
Western Kentucky averages 40.4 points per game. Old Dominion checks in at 23.7 PPG and it has not scored more than 21 points in three of its last four games.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina (-18.5) (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network)
Life in the SEC has not treated Shane Beamer well at South Carolina.
It was always going to be tough to get something out of games against Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee to start off conference play.
Saturday’s game should be circled as a turnaround point for the Gamecocks since it comes against the worst team in the SEC.
South Carolina showed some life in the second half against Tennessee and that should help with carrying momentum into Saturday. The Gamecocks should break loose against a Vanderbilt defense that allows 36.2 points per game.
Rice at UTSA (-18.5) (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
UTSA is the best team in college football that you don’t know about.
The Roadrunners are 6-0 and have one of the best running backs in the nation in Sincere McCormick.
The UTSA offense averages 37.5 points and 453.5 total yards per game, both of which are significantly better than Rice’s totals.
Rice allowed 38 or more points to Texas, Arkansas and Houston. The Owls could be in for a similar rough night as the Roadrunners continue to cruise.
Alabama (-17) at Mississippi State (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The get-right game of all get-right games.
Alabama should have plenty of motivation to bounce back from the Texas A&M loss against Mississippi State.
The Crimson Tide have allowed seven points against the Bulldogs in the last three years. That alone should sway you in favor of Nick Saban’s team.
Alabama is the much better team and it will use Saturday as a vault back toward playoff contention with the SEC Championship Game as its main target.
TCU at Oklahoma (-13.5) (Saturday, 7:30 p.m ET, ABC)
Oklahoma looks much better with Caleb Williams at quarterback than Spencer Rattler.
Lincoln Riley cancelling media availability after the student newspaper discovered Williams was taking first-team reps on Tuesday is the biggest tell about which player will be starting.
TCU comes into Norman banged up. Quarterback Max Duggan and running back Zach Evans are both listed as questionable.
If second half Oklahoma from last weekend shows up for four quarters, the Sooners will cruise to victory.
Ole Miss at Tennessee (Over 82) (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network)
Let’s shoot for the moon.
Ole Miss has an incredible offense that can put up 50 points on any opponent.
Tennessee’s offense is fast paced and it looks strong in Josh Heupel’s first season in charge.
The Vols have been a first-half scoring machine and Ole Miss is more than capable of keeping pace with them.
We’ll know right away if the Over 82 is attainable, but after what I’ve seen from both teams, it certainly is worth the shot.
Arizona State (-1) at Utah (Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN)
I don’t understand the love for Utah.
The Utes gained popularity for beating a very bad USC team two weeks ago. Utah’s other Pac-12 win is against a below average Washington State team.
Arizona State is the class of the Pac-12 South. It just beat UCLA and Stanford by double figures. The Sun Devils being this low of a favorite is a gift.
By the way, we might have to start talking about Jaylen Daniels in the Heisman race if the Sun Devils continue to win.